Will PPP survive general elections in Chitral?

By Muhammad Amin (Garam Chashma)

Will PPP survive in the forthcoming general elections in Chitral. The PPP has a traditional strong root in Chitral since its inception by the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed. It will not be an exaggeration to say that people of Chitral had an emotional and ideological affiliation with this party but now it has waned because of the carelessness of the local party leaders.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutoo is rightly being called as pioneer of development activities in this part of the country in a true sense. He abolished burden of tithe (ushr) imposed by the state, an unnecessary burden on the poor people of Chitral. Many important development projects were initiated during his tenure, including the famous strategic Lowari tunnel.

Most importantly he gave political consciousness to the people of Chitral for the first time and empowered them. Due to this bilateral love and respect Chitral was also called as the second Larkana. The people of Chitral have always reciprocated whenever PPP needed their support.

When ZAB was sentenced to death in a controversial court decision there was deep grief among the people of Chitral and they recall it as a dark chapter in its history. When post martial law elections were held in 1988 the people of Chitral enthusiastically cast their votes for the party. They gave carpet reception to the late Begum Nusrat Bhutto when she was contesting from Chitral constituency.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had also developed love and care for the people of Chitral due to their deep love for Bhutto family. Since Benazir Bhutto’s death things have begun to change in the district. Previously, the dedicated and loyal workers were respected to be as assets for the party and their concern and interests were taken into consideration duly. But new faces and turn coats started to ignore party workers, who raised voice against local leadership’s harsh attitude towards them.

As a result, they either became politically isolated or joined other parties when their concerns and grievances were not heeded. The present forthcoming general elections present a litmus test for the PPP for its survival in Chitral. As many diehard workers have left the party, but on the other hands many new faces have joined it. Many of whom have good political experience at their disposal.

Previously it was expected that ex-MPA Ghulam Muhammad will contest for the national assembly seat and the current MPA Salim Khan will go for the provincial assembly seat. The former is conceived to have sufficient support in the upper Chitral, which may give him enough weightage in the elections. But many confidant of Salim Khan say that he is more interested in the provincial seat rather than contesting for the national assembly.

It is also feared that in such situation he may enter in to a tacit pact for bargaining with Iftikharuddin, the current MNA who is generally believed to be a confirmed candidate from the PML (N) side for the National Assembly seat. But Salim Khan is not ready to bow down to surrender his current seat as he is not willing to contest for the national assembly. It is beyond comprehension that why Salim Khan is afraid of competing NA seat as both the portfolios require same population and geography? With the failure of this expected combination, a new shift is about to happen in PPP cadre.

Taimurul Mulk, who has recently joined PPP is also interested in the NA assembly seat. He is an ex. bureaucrat who has served in some important posts in government departments. He is also considered to be a close friend of party co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, but however he is a new entrant in politics without any previous such experience. The support he extended to the Ismaili community during the present visit of His Highness prince Karim Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili community, to Garamchashma has won for him many sympathizers and supporters among the local community.

Thus there is a strong assumption that Ghulam Muhammad and Taimur ul Mulk will become strong partners for the respective assembly’s seats. The visible chances of new partner with Salim Khan is going to be engineer Fazal Rabi Jan. Before joining PPP, he was a dynamic member of Jamiat Islami Chitral with good political exposure and connections. He is now being seen with Salim Khan in the inauguration of various development schemes and has been very close to him in recent days. Eng.

Fazal Rabi belongs to a political family and his father, the late Haji Khosh Diyar, was one of the founding members of Pakistan People’s party in Chitral. He had played a vital role in the general elections of 1988 when the late Nusrat Bhutto was contesting for the constituency of the district. He remained loyal to the party till his last day without making any compromise. Engineer Fazal Rabi beside his political maturity has served many reputed development agencies in social mobilization, implementation of CPI projects and formation of institutional mechanism.

Last but not the least he is the pioneer of a private company which has made him win many awards and accolades. His political linkages and community interactions give him enough political weight in case he was nominated for the NA seat from the PPP. But it is up to the party leadership to award party tickets to any of the two combinations. Although Salim Khan has lost previous political support, which he enjoyed previously, due to his unwise planning and ill treatment of the original party workers, but he may come up with new maneuvering to galvanize supports for his position. Ironically he has now focused his entire energy on the youth to gain their support. In short, PPP in Chitral is facing one of the most crucial stages of its political survival when MMA, PTI and Muslim League (Nawaz) have strengthened their positions in the district.

To combating such challenges, the PPP district leadership is required coordinated planning, wooing the dissented workers and avoiding leg pulling. The chances of success of any candidate, in present scenario, depend upon party back ground, personality and financial means availability. Let’s see how PPP leadership envisions surviving and overcoming such critical issues? However, presently PPP chance of winning any seat seems quite dim.

3 Replies to “Will PPP survive general elections in Chitral?”

  1. Zardari today said he will bring back Pakistan which was five years ago ie during his previous tenure. what else should we expect. Zardari is future of Pakistan and Zardari will survive.

  2. I fail to understand what is the manifesto of people party other than “aaj bhi bhutto zinda hai” and other similar rubbish slogans.They never talk nor do anything solid when in power. Only slogans to fool the poor while filling own pockets. God will be very harsh with the PPP walas on Qiamat day for exploiting the poor people.

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